23 October 2013

Girl Scouts, their yummy cookies, and Satan's Loyal Communists (who just happen to be single women).

Fundamentalist Christians are masters of making themselves look ridiculous in the face of innocuous popular culture. Its hard to guess what will trigger their foam flecked rantings the most dramatically. In recent years though, two items in particular seem to be in competition for the top spot. At the moment the top spot for ire earner probably goes to equality for GLBTQ folks. At present nothing will set a fundamentalist off a'ranting about moral decay and invitation to divine judgement quicker than suggesting that equality ought to be extended to the GLBTQ community with the God granted and defined borders of these Blessed United States. As John Hagee, insane pastor to many a conservative politician, has said.  Homosexuality is an abomination unto God. Haggee will be only too happy to tell you that it is in the bible. He will neglect to tell you that the abomination passages are not far from passages that teach that bats are birds, and that rabbits are ruminants. Neither of which is true.

All that said, when the Girl Scouts of America are selling their delicious, though apparently Satan filled, cookies, fundamentalists spend a lot of time bashing them too. The main reasons are probably too obvious to need mentioning but I will mention them anyway.

Well, first let me point out a very important fact. Fundamentalist Christians don't actually know much about the GSA. Though they do like to imagine a lot of lesbianism, for reasons about which I dare not speculate. This is similar to when they worry, sometimes in great detail, about what will happen if they let gay scouts or gay scout masters into the BSA.

Lets hear from directly from the GSA about what they are about:

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

That isn't a bad mission statement. You will note nothing about communism, or about becoming lesbians. I mean it doesn't even mention Marx, or the movie Bound. I admit that doesn't constitute slam dunk evidence that the GSA isn't promoting either communism or homosexuality, but you have to read really hard, and imaginatively, and without evidence between the lines to derive that conclusion. The most you can say, is that the GSA doesn't care if you are a communist, or a homosexual lesbian. No doubt that will be vastly too progressive for some in the religious right. 

Empowering Girls? Incredible, but that seems to be what they are doing. Here is the proof.

In Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others.

Its difficult not to jump to the conclusion LIBERAL AGENDA when you see words like myriad, enriching, and environmental so I can certainly see the Religious Right's point here. Actually I can't. But I can see why they might fear educated, broadly educated, gregarious, and enlightened women. They don't understand such women, and as The Roman once told Bruce Wayne, "You always fear what you don't understand." 

When you look at their program its hard not to be impressed with its scope and ambition. The laudable aim of the GSA is to provide a robust journey of enlightenment, engagement with a broader world, and the development of the social skills to be an active participant in that world. However, its focus on building self-esteem, environmental and global awareness among the young and impressionable XX crowd is not universally embraced. 

Kevin Swanson, pastor and host of the awful show Generations will inveigh against the GSA (inaccurately of course) at the merest provocation. According to Swanson, the GSA is "antithetical to the biblical vision of womanhood." The GSA is an arm of feminism, that encourages a problematic female individualism. 

Jan Crouse of the completely objective Berverely Lahaye Institute (part of odious Concerned Women for America) suspects that Christian friction with GSA stems largely from its affiliation with Planned Parenthood, and the fact that the GSA speaks frankly to its members about sex. Jan's big beef with the GSA is that it promotes safe sex. Which Jan then suggests leads to sexual exploration,  as if teenagers of any era have needed any help with this desire. And without any evidence she suggests that this attitude leads to "...the sexualization of our culture."

Kathryn Jean Lopez had this to say: "The Girl Scouts' leaders hope to make their youthful charges the shock troops of an ongoing feminist revolution."  

The Family Research Council, a Fundamentalist Christian organization whose primary mode of research is reading the bible, and cherry picking through the scientific literature, has been attacking the GSA for years. It contributes, they charge, to sexual immorality, and feminism. This is apparently a forbidding combination. 

I could go on pulling quotes out for your entertainment but that would be pointless. The truth is the GSA is a very moderate organization that is doing very good work, and has been teaching young women valuable things, about themselves, and about their -active, non-submissive- place in a larger world for a long time. If you think they are some radical organization dedicated to the mission of destroying traditional American values then you live in a ridiculous comic book world. 

Buy their damn cookies. Or, failing that, stop telling lies to get other people to not buy girl scout cookies  I think it is fairly obvious that Jesus would like a Girl Scout Cookie.